A bon bon refers to several types of sweets. It can also be used as a term to describe some table centerpieces. The word bon comes from a French term meaning good. Sugarcoated almonds are one of the simplest forms of bon bon. Currently, confectioners use bon bon with cream filled centers with some nuts and fruits and covered in chocolate or fondant.
- In the confectionery world a bon bon typically describes a truffle or a chocolate sweet. This is especially true for bon bons made in France that are mostly chocolate covered candy or truffle. They come with a fondant or a butter cream center. They can also refer to any type of candy, even it they are not chocolate covered. Bon bon is the universal term for candy in French, German, Hungarian, Turkish and Dutch languages. In these countries sweets like hard candy, chocolates, sweetmeats, sugarplums, taffy, fruit-flavored candies, lollipops, chocolate-covered candies and chocolates are simply referred to as bon bon.
- In the United States, the word bon bon is a type of frozen confection made from vanilla ice cream dipped in melted chocolate. Hershey Company owns the BonBon® trademark for this confection. Some movie theaters in the US sell this product in a tube that has to be eaten quickly before it melts.
- US confectionery manufacturers like Whitman’s and See’s produce several candies with chocolate covers and fondant, butter cream and nut fillings and may be referred to as bon bon.
- The use of the word differs between continents. In Europe, the term bon bon, more correctly spelled as bonbon, will denote all chocolate covered sweet with filled centers even if Hershey’s owns the registered name. In Europe you have to specify the name Hershey’s BonBon ® if you are looking for this particular product.
- The common features shared by bon bon are that they are round, they are a sweet confection or a sweet candy and there is a thin outer coating of chocolate or even hard candy with a contrasting inside filling.
- Bon bons can be commercially manufactured for the mass market. In selected regions across the globe where confectionery making is making huge business, some bon bons are handmade and hand dipped, using fresh ingredients. Just like designer items, traditional confectioners will create exclusive and limited editions of the popular sweets with more exotic fillings such as using dark chocolate for the outer cover and using the finest fruits, nuts and liqueur and spirits such as orange liqueur and cognac.
- Some famous chocolatiers with very expensive bon bon confections are Knipschildt of Connecticut, Godiva of New York, Pierre Marcolini of Brussels, Debauve&Gallais of Paris, France, Chuao of Encinitas, California, Vosges Haut Chocolat of Chicago, Richard Donnelly of Sta. Cruz, California and La Maison du Chocolat of Paris, France.
Moving away from sweet confections, Bon-Bon (with a dash in between the two bons) is a comedic short story written by Edgar Allan Poe which was first published in December 1832. It was published by the Philadelphia Saturday Courier and originally entitled “The Bargain Lost.” This is a satire about philosophers including Aristotle and Plato. The story is about a French restaurateur and chef who believed that he is a profound philosopher who had encountered the devil and had a discourse with him. The verbal interchange was comedic and the devil revealed that he had eaten several souls of philosophers that intrigued Bon-bon.